The Air Force has its priorities, what are yours?

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- When Gen. T. Michael Moseley became the Chief of Staff of the Air Force in 2005, one of the first things he did was write a memorandum that outlined the top three priorities for the Air Force. I was a student in Air War College at Maxwell AFB when that memo hit the streets and I can recall thinking how smart I thought it was for the CSAF to put his priorities down on paper and attempt to get everyone moving towards the same vector. Two years have passed since that first memo was released and the AF top three priorities have not changed.

What I find interesting is that despite a deliberate strategic communication plan to give these priorities visibility, there are still many in our Air Force that cannot tell you what these priorities are. Is it a lack of understanding? Have our Air Force leaders, down to the level of unit commanders failed to provide the opportunity for every Airman to see that what they do every day supports those priorities? As leaders and followers at many levels, this should concern us. I think we need to stop and ask why.

The three priorities outlined by the CSAF are as follows: 1. Winning the Global War on Terror; 2. Developing Airmen; and 3. Recapitalizing the Force. I had a conversation not long ago with a fellow officer who asked me what "recapitalization" meant. That is when I started to wonder if maybe there was a breakdown in communication due to a lack of understanding. Dictionary.com defines recapitalize as "to renew". For those who did not know what it means - don't feel bad... the word is not even listed in Webster's online dictionary. So maybe a better way to repeat the CSAF message is to talk about renewing or modernizing not only our aircraft and spacecraft but equipment we use in our daily jobs as well. I am not sure that our new-est Airmen who arrive on base from an intentionally extended basic training course and then a refocused technical school know they've been "developed." Maybe we have to do a better job relating our numerous people focused activities and programs back to this Air Force priority.

It is my opinion that in addition to understanding them, the priorities have to mean something to Airmen on a tactical level so they are not just lofty unattainable goals. I challenge each of you to use these Air Force priorities as a framework to align your daily mission under and assist those you work with to see the connection. We all can make a positive difference if we know how our daily contributions are linked to the successes of these Air Force priorities.